Taxpayer Identification Number - TIN

DEFINITION of 'Taxpayer Identification Number - TIN'

A taxpayer identification number is a number that is assigned to a tax-paying businesses and other entities for identification, reporting and record keeping purposes. The TIN helps the IRS keep track of these entities and manage their tax accounts. Corporations, partnerships, estates and trusts, as well as some proprietors and other individuals, must use these numbers when filing tax returns and other tax-related documents.

For sole proprietors, the TIN is their Social Security number or an employer identification number (EIN). For corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates, this number is an EIN.

BREAKING DOWN 'Taxpayer Identification Number - TIN'

Types of TINs include Social Security numbers, employer identification numbers, individual taxpayer identification numbers, adoption taxpayer identification numbers and preparer tax identification numbers. The Social Security Administration issues Social Security numbers to U.S. citizens, as well as qualified lawful aliens. The IRS issues all other types of taxpayer identification numbers.

Required Uses of TINs

The IRS requires the use of taxpayer identification numbers on many tax-related documents, such as tax returns, statements and reports. For example, taxpayers filing annual tax returns must furnish a TIN on their return, and employers reporting wages paid to employees must furnish these employees' TINs.

Employer Identification Number

Employer identification numbers (EINs) are also known as federal employer identification numbers. The IRS requires businesses, including corporations and partnerships, as well as some trusts and estates, to use EINs. Sole proprietors may use an EIN or their Social Security number. A sole proprietor who employs at least one individual, other than herself, must obtain an EIN. In addition, the IRS requires entities to use an EIN under special circumstances, such as if they have a Keogh plan, file returns related to alcohol, tobacco or firearms, or if they are involved with certain types or organizations.

Obtaining an EIN is free and can be done online. The IRS advises that responsible parties ensure a business is legally formed before obtaining an EIN. Typically, a new EIN must be obtained if the business ownership or structure changes.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Certain resident and nonresident aliens who are unable to obtain Social Security numbers may file form W-7 with the IRS to obtain an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). These are nine-digit numbers that are formatted like Social Security numbers. The IRS authorizes acceptance agents, such a colleges, financial institutions and accounting firms, to assist applicants in obtaining ITINs.

Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number

The IRS sometimes issues an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) to a child who is being adopted in the United States if the child cannot obtain a Social Security number before the adopting individuals must file a tax return. These numbers are temporary.

Preparer Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

The IRS requires paid tax preparers to include their preparer individual taxpayer identification number (PTIN) on tax returns or claims for refunds that they prepare substantially or in full. Tax preparers may apply for these numbers by mail or online. Special rules apply to foreign tax preparers who are unable to obtain Social Security numbers.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Employer Identification Number ...

    A unique identification number that is assigned to a business ...
  2. Tax Identification Number - TIN

    As the name implies, this number is a nine-digit number used ...
  3. W-9 Form

    An IRS form, also known as "Request for Taxpayer Identification ...
  4. IRS Publication 908

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that ...
  5. IRS Publication 552 - Recordkeeping ...

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that ...
  6. Specific Use

    A specific purpose for a power of attorney with the IRS that ...
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    What is a Tax Identification Number?

    A tax identification number, or TIN, is a nine-digit figure the IRS uses for certain tracking purposes.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    How to Obtain Your Federal Business Tax ID

    Learn how an eligible business obtains a federal tax identification number or employer identification number from the IRS by mail, by fax, by phone or online.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Foreigner Starting A Business In The U.S.?

    Keep these four startup steps in mind before you do.
  4. Taxes

    Personal Income Tax Guide: Common Filing Mistakes

    By Ken ClarkNo matter how much tax planning you do, if you screw up the actual process of filing your taxes, the ensuing penalties and time spent cleaning up the mess can quickly wipe out any ...
  5. Professionals

    General Issues

    General Issues
  6. Taxes

    Employers: Don't Forget IRS Form 941

    Your obligations as an employer include various employment taxes. Use this form to report them.
  7. Personal Finance

    Promises To Fix Credit Problems

    Don't get caught believing these "too good to be true" promises. Learn the signs of a money scam and keep your wallet safe.
  8. Professionals

    Opening a Brokerage Account

    Opening a Brokerage Account
  9. Taxes

    Filling Out The W-9 Form

    Freelancers and independent contractors have to give a W-9 to their clients – and you might need to provide one for other transactions. Here's what to do.
  10. Professionals

    Estate Tax

    Estate Tax
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the advantages of paying your taxes with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment ...

    The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) is a free tax payment service offered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury ... Read Answer >>
  2. How Long Should I Keep My Tax Records?

    Having the right information available when the IRS calls can save you considerable time, money and stress. Learn how long ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the dangers of using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)?

    The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) is a convenient way to file your taxes, but you need to be aware of some ... Read Answer >>
  4. When am I not required to submit a social security number on my tax return?

    When filing your tax return, you are generally required to include the social security numbers of yourself and the individuals ... Read Answer >>
  5. What's the difference between a tax rate and a tax bracket?

    These two terms are often incorrectly used interchangeably. Find out the difference between your tax rate and your tax bracket. ... Read Answer >>
  6. What’s the difference between IRS Forms 1040 and 1040EZ?

    Though very similar, the differences between the 1040 and 1040EZ Forms are significant when it comes to filing your tax return. ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Return On Invested Capital - ROIC

    A calculation used to assess a company's efficiency at allocating the capital under its control to profitable investments. ...
  2. Law Of Demand

    A microeconomic law that states that, all other factors being equal, as the price of a good or service increases, consumer ...
  3. Cost Of Debt

    The effective rate that a company pays on its current debt. This can be measured in either before- or after-tax returns; ...
  4. Yield Curve

    A line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but differing maturity ...
  5. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will ...
  6. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed ...
Trading Center